Here are the most recent developments we have heard regarding on-going discussions about potential UW-System budget cuts, creation of a UW-System “Public Authority”, and potential changes to Chapter 36/faculty governance. Much of this was discussed to some degree by a group of around 200 persons attending a College of Letters and Science Open Forum held today (Friday) starting at Noon in Bolton 150:
1. A potential base budget cut for the entire UW-System (of up to $150 million) is being discussed, which would continue for both years of the 2015-17 biennium. Biennial math makes these numbers a bit difficult to relate clearly/correctly, so here is some additional explanation. One way this could happen (if it was all “front loaded”) is that in the first year there would be a cut to the base budget of $150 million, and then no further base cut in the second year (but no restoration either), so the total amount of lost revenue would be $300 million over the two years (not $450 million, which would be the case if there were base cuts of $150 million in EACH of the two years). If a potential cut of this magnitude was allocated to campuses across the UW-System as they have been historically, then UW-Milwaukee’s share could be about a $20 million cut to our base budget, and lost revenue of $40 million over the biennium.
2. Changing the entire UW-System into a “Public Authority” is under discussion, but little beyond that is clear. Apparently one way that could be done would be for “Chapter 36” to be removed and replaced with a new “Chapter 37”, which would authorize the public authority. Under that potential change, faculty/shared governance and tenure could be removed from State law, instead becoming Board of Regent Policy.
The UC will be discussing these serious matters (and potential faculty/campus action to get ahead of this) further at our meeting next Tuesday (1/27). We encourage all faculty to start thinking about these issues and their potential implications for our campus, as well as to attend and discuss, at the plenary next Wednesday (1/28), Faculty/Faculty Senate Meeting next Thursday (1/29), and first planned all-campus meeting (announced by Chancellor Mone today) on February 10th, 9:00-10:00am in the Student Union Wisconsin Room.